Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: Reducing Food Waste

I have mentioned waste and recycling in a previous post, but recently came across another article in the Fresno Bee talking specifically about food waste. UC Merced and several other colleges have received praise by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency for their efforts to reduce food waste and increase awareness on the topic.
Source: Schaumburg's Sustainable Future

Food waste is expensive, crowds landfills, and adds to greenhouse gas emissions.  UC Merced composts cafeteria waste and has switched to recyclable food containers as part of its goal to achieve zero net energy consumption by 2020.

Ways you can help reduce food waste:

  • When eating out, order an appetizer or two, choose from the children’s menu, or share an entrĂ©e with a friend. Portion sizes at restaurants are absolutely out of control! This tip not only will help with food waste, but likely the size of your waist. I usually gravitate towards the appetizers on a menu because they just sound better! If you still have leftovers, take them home and enjoy for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner or get creative and incorporate with other ingredients for a whole new meal.
  • Take inventory of your fridge and pantry before grocery shopping. How many times do you come home from the store and struggle to find room in the pantry or refrigerator shelves? Take a cue from those who live in big cities: shop more frequently and only for what you will use for a few days or up to one week. Sure it is a bit more effort but you are more likely to use all of your ingredients before they expire or rot. I like to challenge myself to become more creative in the kitchen by utilizing everything I have to the very last drop, so to speak. Soups and stews are a great way to utilize leftovers and produce that are on their last leg. Overly ripe fruit that has not yet spoiled can be cut up in small bits and then frozen for use in smoothies or frozen yogurt.
  • Similar to the tip above, never grocery shop while hungry! It’s amazing what ends up in your cart when your stomach is growling. It’s likely that these impulse purchases will lead to extra waste/waist.
  • If portion control is an issue for you, eat off of smaller plates/bowls. You are less likely to stuff yourself silly and/or throw the extra bits of food on your plate in the trash.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Big Week for Climate Change: President has a plan, House may vote to slash renewable funding and reads some white papers, Senate tries to keep up with CA and more.

See Bloomberg BNA Climate Blog for full story

Week of June 24th: House may consider a bill that would cut Energy Department spending on renewables in half. We're talking $1.4 billion in DOE cuts, including $911 million for renewable energy programs.  Not all too happy for that? Contact your house representative and let them know how you feel.  In fact, I paused from writing this post to email Congressman Nunes. Remember, your House Representative works for you!

Tuesday, June 25th: President Obama to lay out his vision for how the United States addresses climate change.  Want brownie points?  Be prepared and read the Energy and Climate Report article on Politico.

Likely to be overshadowed by a certain speech (see above) the Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee on Energy will hold an oversight hearing to determine two bills: S. 1084 to establish the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renwable Energy as the lead fed agency for coordinating and promoting energy efficiency retrofits in schools (hello, CA AB-39) and S. 717 to direct DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz to establish a pilot program to award grants to nonprofit organizations to retrofit their buildings (hello office upgrade!).

And because everybody wants to talk on Tuesday, the Senate and Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on "Improving Forest Management on Federal Lands."

CARB is hosting a workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Cal/EPA HQ Building in Sacramento on the state's cap-and-trade program for GHG emissions.

The California Public Utilities Commission to host Behavior Change Workshop at PG&E's Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco (Day two on June 26).

The California Energy Commission will host an event in Fresno (really CA agencies?  I don't have the staff to cover all these meetings!) on the Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Program for Existing Buildings Draft Action Plan (AB 758).   

The United States Energy Association will host an event in Washington, D.C., on "The Cost of Carbon Capture and Storage on Fossil Fuel Power Plants."

Wednesday, June 26th: the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power to hold hearing on "An Overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard: Government Perspectives." The hearing will cover a reveiw of white papers (fun!) to help determine if the standard needs to be revised.

CARB is keeping busy and hosting a regional workshop in Diamond Bar to discuss the proposed 2013 scoping plan to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act of 20006 (A.B. 32).

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a webinar on "Natural Gas to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Energy Efficiency and Combined Heat and Power."

Thursday, June 27th: Resources for the Future (RFF) , panel discussion in Washington D.C. will cover "Managing the Risks of Shale Gas Development